Our flock of 15 has dwindled to 12; two roosters and ten hens. Hawks flew into the chicken run and killed the Polish girls, Lady Gaga and Phyllis Diller, last fall. The roosters chased them off but not before the girls were killed. They weren't the brightest birds but they were entertaining. Amelia loved to fly out of the pen and into my garden. There, she would scratch and peck in the compost, happy and busy. I loved watching her. We knew the chances of a hawk getting her eventually were high. She didn't have the protection of the roosters in the garden, although she was a Lakenvelder and they are known to be savvy foragers. A few weeks ago, Brett found her carcass in the garden. The victim of a hawk.
Brett spent the next week thinking about the best way to construct a cover for the chicken run. Of course, his plan had to look great and be strong enough to withstand a tsunami. The pen is too wide to fit a standard length of wire fencing so he put in posts and built a trellis type cover.
Lucy, who is scared to go outside the arena and walk under the oaks and pines, wasn't at all bothered by Brett's piles of materials, a tarp and the tractor. Go figure.
After installing massive posts, Brett built a grid with 2x4s on the inside and 4x4s on the edges. The grid has four by four foot spaces. It looked just like a fancy patio cover when Brett finished.
Last, he laid fence panels across the top, cut to fit, and anchored down. The chicken pen cover isn't going anywhere.
Hawks can't dive in and adventuresome chickens can't fly out.
Lets' see, at an average of five eggs per day, how many years before we get a return on this investment? Not that we care, we love our chickens and want them to be safe. And Brett doesn't know how to build anything that isn't top notch.